"If it weren't for this chorus I may not be 'out' yet today, and still hiding in the closet someplace."
Throughout our 30-year history, the goals of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus have been three-fold: 1) to achieve a high level of musical integrity; 2) to give voice and visibility to a cultural minority; and 3) to confront homophobia and intolerance and affect positive social change.
Homophobia remains a pervasive problem in our society, despite the gains made in social acceptance and equal rights. Many LGBT people continue to experience discrimination in their personal and professional lives. Young LGBT people struggle with social and self-acceptance, while their family and friends also struggle to accept them.
As a prominent Minnesota LGBT arts organization, Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus provides a safe and welcoming environment for gay men to form community through the performance of music.
With over 125 singing members, the Chorus and its small ensemble, OutLoud!, produce and present a full concert season every year. The Chorus performs its concert series at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis and is also featured at a number of other special appearances and outreach programs (schools, churches, universities, festivals) locally, throughout the Midwest and the nation.
The Chorus provides its members with rewarding musical performance experiences that celebrate diversity and use music as a way to transform, educate and heal. The Chorus promotes social justice and the elimination of homophobia and intolerance through our regular season of performances and community outreach performances across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Our strategic vision is to be a dynamic choral leader, changing lives through the performance of significant music.
Along with its long-standing commitment to artistic integrity and musical excellence, the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus has had a significant social impact since its inception. By the mid-80's more than 30 gay men's choruses had formed in the U.S., most in response to the AIDS epidemic. The choruses and their music provided an important source of support and community during this devastating period, acting as agents of social change by raising AIDS awareness and offering opportunities for the expression of grief and healing among friends and family members. During this time, the Chorus provided emotional support and opportunities for grieving and healing at the height of the epidemic in the United States. As treatments improved, many other choruses struggled with a diminished sense of purpose. We have never faced such a struggle because we have stayed true to our mission, even as the needs of the community have changed. An example of this social impact is "Through a Glass, Darkly," commissioned by the Chorus in 2008, a choral work that addresses the new and growing epidemic of meth addiction that plagues young adults, particularly young gay men. The Chorus performed the work in outreach concerts in cities such as St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Ashland, Wisconsin, where we partnered with local youth support groups to entertain and educate our audiences with this envelope-pushing material. The work is now reaching a national audience. More than 10 member choruses of GALA, an international association of LGBT Choruses will perform "Through a Glass, Darkly" in the coming year.